391. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Jordan1

1572. Embtel 1765.2 We are becoming increasingly concerned by indications contained reftel and other messages from Embassy that King and Rifai expect to use King’s forthcoming trip as means attempt force USG agree provide substantially increased aid to Jordan on indefinite basis and to commit itself to indefinite preservation of Jordan as independent state. We have no intention of agreeing to either of these requests and we foresee that irreparable damage could be done to our relations with Jordan should King and Rifai come here in effect to deliver unacceptable ultimatum to USG, especially if such a development were to become public knowledge. We desire you in discreet manner to ensure that King and Rifai can have no possible grounds for expectation, before coming to US, that USG will be in a position to satisfy grandiose ideas. Following points which you should tactfully convey to King and Rifai are provided to assist you in this effort.

This visit is private one undertaken at King’s initiative. As King has been informed, USG welcomes opportunity to receive him informally in Washington and to exchange views with him. Such exchange of views would be entirely appropriate during an informal visit of this nature but it neither customary nor desirable for foreign Chiefs of State during informal visits at their initiative to utilize occasion to carry [Page 680]out negotiations or seek obtain commitments from USG. While US is of course entirely prepared to discuss US–Jordan relations generally with King and to indicate its views as to future course of these relations, it is not prepared to engage during visit in specific negotiations or commitments regarding problems which may exist. Preferable for these matters to be discussed via normal diplomatic channels.
US has given firm and repeated evidence of its full support for Jordan and has, in view of its deep interest in Jordan and its desire to support King and Jordan Government, violated long established strong preference by indicating level of support which it plans to provide Jordan during Fiscal 1960, prior to authorization by Congress of necessary funds. US has thus clearly shown its support for continuance of Jordan as sovereign independent state. US however is very heavily committed in global aid programs and is not prepared to provide large sums of money over and above level already indicated to HKJ. Department desires to be frank with King and Rifai on this point in order that they may have no false hopes regarding position of USG.
US had on number of occasions through such instruments as the Tripartite Declaration and Middle East Resolution revealed its deep interest in preservation of independence and security of Middle East states. This interest was dramatically illustrated last summer by despatch of US troops to Lebanon, by important US support for British troops sent to Jordan, and by substantial support for Jordan in many fields. US does not have mutual defense treaty with any Arab state and has resisted recurrent and powerful Israeli pressures for such defense arrangement. US furthermore believes that mutual defense treaty with major Western power would not be in best interests of Jordan and of King in view of prevailing political trends in ME and deterioration of relations which occurred between Jordan and UK when Jordan had defense treaty with UK, subsequently denounced by Jordan. Accordingly King and Rifai should have no reason to believe that US now prepared conclude defense treaty with Jordan.
Finally you should emphasize to King and both Rifais that USG sincerely welcomes forthcoming trip and opportunity for exchange of views with Chief of State for whom it has such high admiration. USG, in view of the relations of trust it shares with HKJ, plans to speak with King and Rifai on basis of confidence. King will of course have access to US press and since his remarks may be widely reported we feel sure that in spirit of close US-Jordanian relations he will exercise special care in public references to matter which may be discussed with USG in Washington. King will also appreciate desirability of refraining from [Page 681]any public references to other states, particularly in NE, which could embarrass US in its relations with those states.3
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 785.11/2–259. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Rockwell and cleared by Rountree and in U.
  2. Telegram 1765 from Amman, February 2, reported on a discussion between Wright and Rifai concerning the King’s planned visit to Washington. Rifai noted that the “real issue” to be resolved in Washington was whether the United States was willing to admit that the continuance of Jordan as a sovereign, independent state was essential to the maintenance of free world influence in the Middle East. If so, Rifai was certain that the amount of money necessary to accomplish this was unimportant. (Ibid., 785.11/2–259)
  3. In telegram 1819 from Amman, February 9, Wright reported that he had conveyed the substance of telegram 1572 to Rifai. As a result, Wright felt certain that neither the King nor Rifai were left with any illusions concerning the limitations imposed by circumstances on the form and amount of assistance which the United States could provide to Jordan. (Ibid., 785.11/2–959)